Updated 03/04/2012 02:59 AM
K-Pop Stars Girls' Generation, BoA, SHINee Continue To Win U.S. Fans
Since they first arrived in New York, NY1 has been following the progress of Korean pop stars trying to make it big in America. In the first installment of a two-part series, Lewis Dodley reports that the door to the so-called Korean Wave appears to have swung wide open.
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It was a dream come true for the nine members of Girls' Generation and their company, SM Entertainment. In another first for the group from South Korea, they were in the national spotlight last month performing on the Late Show with David Letterman.
They also graced the set of "Live with Kelly" as part of a whirlwind 24 hours to promote their first English single, "The Boys."
"It's absolutely a dream come true," said group member Tiffany following the appearances. "It's still amazing that we were on the show and we're just thankful that we're having so much of an experience."
Asked if the group was nervous appearing on American television, she laughed.
"We enjoyed it – we totally enjoyed it on stage," she said. "During rehearsals we were a bit jet-lagged, but once the camera turned on we were screaming, whoo! It was the first time we ever performed with a live band, and that sounded really cool."
The appearances come on the heels of a sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden for Girls' Generation and six other SM Entertainment acts – which makes you wonder if America has wrapped its arms around the idea of a Korean superstar.
SM Entertainment's first attempt at cracking the U.S. market was made three years ago by BoA, an Asian sensation so popular that 200 media outlets showed up for her announcement that she was coming to America. Though the album saw only moderate success, her talent was recognized by director Duane Adler – who was so impressed that he's making "Cobu 3D," a soon-to-be-released movie based on BoA. It co-stars Derek Hough, and BoA as Aya.
"Aya's character is Korean in blood and raised in Japan," BoA explains. "She's followed her brother to New York and she's the leader of the Cubu team so she's very passionate and never gives up on anything she does. So she's a strong woman."
"Working with Duane Adler, he's an amazing director," BoA adds. "He's written a lot of amazing dance movies before, so I was very happy to be part of this project. And Derek Hough, when I first met him there was a little bit of awkwardness since we really didn't know each other. But when we kept rehearsing stuff we got to know each other, and then after I got to know him as a person I thought, 'Wow, he's a really nice guy, cool, great dancer, great actor.' So now we're really good friends."
The latest developments embody the concept of Hallyu – the wave of Korean cultural expression that, bit-by-bit, is making a mark on the world. K-Pop artists are doing their best to make that mark a lasting impression.
"We have social networks these days like YouTube and Facebook," says performer Key of the group SHINee. "So ever though we're far apart, everyone is able to see our performances through the Internet. I definitely feel that today people are more open-minded to music. Five years ago it would be hard to imagine that people in Europe and all over the world would be listening to K-Pop – but now it seems there's a chance to listen to a larger variety of different styles of music."
"I just feel like we're just starting and we still have a long way up the stairs," echoes Tiffany. "So we're just going to work hard for it. My goal for this group is just sticking together as long as possible. We grew up together and I hope it can go on."